Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan
Series: Crazy Rich Asians #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Asia, Book to Film, Chic lit, Contemporary
Dates read: 28th – 30th October 2019
Publisher: Anchor Books
5th sentence, 74th page: Her parents supported the idea of Astrid having a “cooling-off period” away, but try as she might to maintain a low profile, Astrid effortlessly enchanted le tout Paris with her smouldering beauty.
When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
I CANNOT believe how amazing this book was!!! Totally floored. Totally in love and completely gobsmacked by the awesomeness of this. I am totally obsessed with the movie, so I was kind of expecting to like that better (it rarely happens, but sometimes if I love the movie, the book falls flat). But that was not the case. This book neither ruined the movies for me, or made me never want to read the books again. I now have a double obsession, both for different reasons.
Like the movie, this book is funny, pithy and quite brilliant. Yet, there is a lot more darkness amongst the pages than in the movie. Far more manipulation and horrible activities performed by the elite that are suddenly thrust into Rachel’s life. And a more insidious approach to her relationship than the movie has. This isn’t so rainbows and puppies at the end of the story. But, in being so, it is also way more realistic and, in many ways, relatable (because who hasn’t had issues with in-laws?)
It’s incredibly obvious that Kwan has come from this society. There is a sense of intimate knowledge and understanding of how this community lives that would only be available to an insider. One that was a great piece of cultural information. Even if the anthropologist in me will never have access to such a cultural group, and, after reading this, really doesn’t want to. One of my favourite aspects of this is the fact that there are footnotes explaining all of the language, preferences and activities of the Singapore elite. It gives an extra layer of information and cultural understanding that I previously wasn’t expecting. They’re also funny and a little bit disparaging. Kind of like having the movie version Oliver’s voice as a running commentary throughout.
This book is intense, unique and completely impossible to put down. It’s not one that I will forget any time soon. It is also one that will make you want to pick up China Rich Girlfriend immediately afterwards. At least, that’s what I did. Because seriously man, I wanted to see what happened next!!!